Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the government for blocking insurance reform, after the Minister for Finance confirmed he would block the commencement of sections of the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act until September 2021.
This is despite the fact that the legislation, introduced by Deputy Doherty in 2017, was signed into law by President Higgins in December 2019 after passing all stages of the Dáil by an overwhelming majority.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Yesterday, the Minister for Finance confirmed he would be blocking crucial sections of the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act until September 2021, nearly two years after it was signed into law by President Higgins.
“This is a huge blow to consumers and small businesses, and is further evidence of a government that has been captured by the interests of the insurance industry.
“I introduced the Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill to the Dáil in January 2017, more than three years ago. It passed all stages of the Dáil at the end of 2019 with overwhelming support and was signed into law by President Higgins in December.
“This legislation shifted the balance of power away from insurers in favour of consumers. It was described as a game-changer by the Alliance for Insurance Reform and has been supported by ISME and small businesses across the State.
“Indeed, an online petition for this legislation to be given immediate effect has been signed by more than 9,500 people.
“The government plan to block parts of this legislation which form a crucial part of reforming insurance contracts and strengthening consumer rights
“These include making it harder for insurance companies to wriggle out of paying valid claims on spurious grounds, and increasing transparency on premium costs on renewal.
“The insurance industry has had three years to prepare for this legislation. It is clear that the government has bowed to the demands of the industry by blocking sections of this legislation for another thirteen months.
“Insurance reform cannot wait. Neither can consumers.”